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CHENECTADY WORK 

OF THE 

GENERAL ELECTRIC 

COMPANY 





March, 1927 



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THE SCHENECTADY WORKS 

OF THE 
GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY 




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THE Schenectady Works of the General Electric Com- 
pany stands at the eastern entrance to the Mohawk 
Valley. Close by is the site of the palisaded settle- 
ment which, in the year 1661, pointed the westward impulse 
of civilization and which has since become a notable city 
of over ninety thousand inhabitants. From here, explorers 
and settlers have opened long paths to distant lands of 
opportunity. Here, with fine symbolism, a noble bridge has 
been named The Great Western Gateway; and here the 
General Electric Company preserves the pioneer tradition 
and spirit by its leadership in the design and manufacture 
of electric apparatus — products that are aiding human 
progress throughout the Nation and beyond its borders. 

At Schenectady, General Electric has established its 
principal administrative offices, whence radiate influences 
that aid the whole electrical industry in its business of fur- 
thering scientific, commercial, and cultural advance. Most 
of these offices are in Building 2, which fronts the main gate 
and is one of the largest office buildings in America used ex- 
clusively by one company. 

In addition to departments which are charged with adminis- 
tration of General Electric's afl^airs or are occupied with 
various forms of general service to its organization, most 
of the principal sales departments of the Company are also 
at Schenectady. Here engineering knowledge is combined 
with commercial experience to extend the market for G-E 
products and to serve purchasers in matters of installation 
and operation. 

Here, too, is the Schenectady Works of the General 
Electric Compnnv. 



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Tl II:. Schenectady Works is the largest electrical maniitac- 
turing plant in the world. Turning from Building 2 , one 
faces the long vista of **Works Avenue," lined on both sides 
with factories and crowned by the lofty towers of WGY, 
General FJectric's oldest radio broadcasting station. This 
avenue and its intersecting streets may well be hkened to 
those of a modern city. On an area of 64^ acres and with a 
total floor space of over six and a half million square feet, 
359 !)uildings house a daily popuhition of from 18,000 to 
20,000 men and women, not including the 2000 who occupy 
the general offices. Manufacturing activities are conducted 
tr(jm Building 41, situated at a central and convenient loca- 
tion with respect to the shops. The executives are assistcil 
by a Works Council elected by the employees. Safety and 
order are promoted by a fire department etjuipped with 
modern apparatus and by a patrol departiTient of 90 
members. 

Within the plant are 33 miles of track on which 26 elec- 
tric locomotives and 800 freight cars are operated, while 
a fleet of 160 trucks also plays an important part in the 
traffic. Beneath the pavements is an elaborate system of 
pipes and conduits which serves the community's needs for 
heat, light, water, and power. The pumpiiig system has a 
daily capacity of 22,480,000 gallons, and the radiators and 
pipe coils are sufficient to heat more than Ijoo homes of 
average si'/c. Communication is made easy by an automatic 
telephone system which inclutles more than 3500 instruments. 
The Schenectatly Works has its own athletic fields and 
surgical dispensaries; its restaurants served, in 192^), a total 
of 1,613,781 meals; and a commodious parking area is 
proviiied for employees' automobiles. 

Tt would take too long a time to stud\' all the shops of tlu- 
Schenectady Works; we must be content with a brief visit 
to a few typical factories. From these we may estimate 
methods of manufacture and the nature of the products. 
The hitter include: 
Large turbines for power plants Coolidge x-ray tubes 

and for ship propulsion Induction mororh 



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Circuit breakers 
Synchronous converters 
Voltage regulators 
Alternating-current generators 
Motor control apparatus 
Railway line material 
Searchlights 



Marine generator sets 
Motor-generator sets 
Direct-current generators 
Synchronous motors 
Wire and cable 
Industrial motors 



Radio apparatus 

While it is not always safe to measure excellence in terms 
of size, we must consider that the electrical service supplied 
by most of these products widens in scope in proportion to 
the capacity — and hence to the dimensions — -of the appa- 
ratus. This greater size, in turn, requires heavier and larger 
manufacturing machinery. Therefore, the unusual magni- 
tude of apparatus and of operation in the General Electric 
shops demands notice in even a brief description. 

These characteristics, together with finished craftsman- 
ship guided by expert design, are so general and distinctive 
a feature of manufacture at the Schenectady Works that a 
few shops, selected for diversity of product, will fairly repre- 
sent the whole. 

Notable among these shops is Building i6, where water- 
wheel-driven turbines and large motors are made. Here are a 
65-foot boring mill and a milling machine that is 120 inches 
by 120 inches — each the largest of its kind in the world. 
Of the 223,000 square feet of area in this shop, an iron 
floor occupies 14,500. On account of the huge size of 
the castings that must be handled, they are set up and 
machined with electrically driven tools on this flooring, 
which thus virtually constitutes a vast bench at which 
the giant Electricity performs his mighty and nicely accurate 
labor. 

Building 17 presents another aspect of Schenectady Works 
production. Here speed — sheer, bewildering speed — com- 
pels attention to the punch presses, each of which pours out 
metal parts at the rate of 400 every minute. The total 
capacity of this department is a million stampings per hour. 
In the same building are 20 electric welding machines that 
make an average total of 600 welds a day. 



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Building 49 h(juses some of the largest lathes ever built. 
These are required to machine the ponderous rotor for^intrs 
for large steam turl>ine-generators. 

Although the machinery and products of these shops 
have given the visitor opportunity to adjust his appr ' i- 
tion to an extraonlinary scale of manufacture with its sug- 
g ';tion of corresponding electrical capacity, he can liardl\ 
he prepared for the majestic dimensions and far-reachmir 
vistas of Building 6c, the largest hop in the Sehen__tad} 
Works. It is ^00 feet long and ^40 feet wide, with a Huor 
area of o\ er half a millif)n square ferr, including the gal- 
leries. Its construction def)ianded af)out S400 tr)ns of «"•■!, 
4,OC'/ hritks, ['.', nule.s of wire, 1 mtles (;f .steam pipe, 
antl r ^4,Cv>o s(]uare feet of wintlryw and skylight gin- - 

Building (>'. Is, 111 la^^e })art, devnfed to the making and 
assemhly ai steam turlnne generators of the largest cap"" " 
ties — machines of sucli dimension's as arc Indicated b) 
illtistrations in this hook. I'o niovc the great m hiner\ 
parts from point to |>oint, js overhead electric cranes arc 
re(pfired, several (»f which have a hfting pow\r ot 1 x; t 
tach. 'I'he shop is e(|utpped aLso wirh lOOO motor-driven 
tools operated by 2500 motors which furnisli a t<Kal ' 
al)out lo,c^ horse power. 'Hiere are few L^iLat factory 
buildings in which electric power t onspu u(»usty l_, , _ . 
the minds that direct it; there is, perhaps, none other in 
which has been fabricated machinery with a ca[\icity fur 
so large a |>roduction and so wide a distriburion of c' '--ric 
energy. 

In Building 6S, the ancient art of the potter i> applicci to 
the reciuirements of electrical manufauurc thruugh modern 
machinery capable of lartj[e-(|uantitv production. The """ 
P^ md the kilns in this porcelain factor) daily i._...,^n 

nine tons of raw material into about ^00,000 pic — ■ of 
pot .lain. 

It may seem a long step from porcelain to wire, but in 
the manufacture of these products at the Schenectady Works 
there is the same careful direction of process, rhe same 
reliance on modern machinery, and the same prov.^lv^a fur 



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production in large volume. In Building S5, there is annu- 
ally produced wire and cahle of sufficient length to include 
the earth and moon in a giant loop, not once only but J2 
times — and with enough left over to encircle the earth 25 
times. Eighty-six billion feet are insulated in the course of 
a year — a weight of 20,800,000 pounds. The building em- 
bodies two parallel units which can be used simultaneously 
or separately. The raw material is received at one end of the 
structure, and the finished product is loaded on trucks at 
the opposite end. 

Building 77, situated almost at the southern end of 
"Works Avenue," is dedicated to the youngest and most 
humanly intimate branch of the electrical art. Here is made 
radio apparatus for both transmission and reception. 7'he 
products of this factory embody the latest inventions and 
refinements of the Company's radio engineers, and, through 
their ever-increasing excellence, are bringing pleasure and 
benefit to homes in every part of the continent. General 
F.lectric has contributed three broadcasting stations to the 
service of this art — WGY, at Schenectady; KOA, at Denver; 
and KGO, at Oakland. The towers of WGY, on the roof of 
Building 40, rise to a height of 265 feet from the ground 
and are 352 feet apart. I'he studio and engineering staff 
of this station numbers 23 persons, who, in their several 
capacities, supervise the broadcasting of programs origi- 
nating at Schenectady and of material received by wire 
from prominent musical centers. 

To one who has visited these representative buildings of 
the Schenectady Works, the question is likely to occur: 
"How does General F.lectric 'make delivery' r" Statistics 
of the Shipping Department show that it uses 13,500,000 
feet of lumber a year, 690 miles of banding iron, 20,000,000 
square feet of wrapping paper, and — each day — a ton and 
a half of nails. The nails used in a year, if put end to end, 
would extend from New ^'ork across the continent and a 
thousand miles beyond. The department receives about 
100,000 orders and loads nearlv K.ooo cars annuallv. About 
5000 memoranda of shipments are sorted and mailed each 



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day. Two million pasteboard boxes are made each year for 
shipment of products, and require 600 tons of material. 

The Research Laboratory, occupying Buildings 5 andjy, is 
not only the scientific fountainhead of the whole Company in 
all matters pertaining to research and development; It is an 
institution of international authority and importance. Its 
large staff of technical investigators, recruited from almost 
every department of physical science, is not only engaged in 
the study of electrical phenomena and materials; it also 
makes valuable contributions to branches of knowledge 
that have, perhaps, only an indirect relation to electrical 
development but that are of the first importance in other 
industrial fields and in the world of pure science. In this 
laboratory, through brilliant theory and patient experiment, 
the Incandescent lamp was brought from its early form to 
its present high effectiveness and general availability. Here 
also, x-ray apparatus, essential in modern medical diagnosis, 
and power tubes, Important in many technical applications, 
have been developed. The millions of dollars invested by 
General Electric in the equipment and maintenance of the 
Research Laboratory have returned rich dividends in the 
form of scientific understanding and humanitarian service. 

Building 37, adjacent to Building 5 and conspicuous 
because of the great electric sign on its roof, is devoted prin- 
cipally to the manufacture of laboratory products. 

The scientific equipment at the Schenectady Works also 
includes laboratories for general engineering and for the 
testing of materials, as well as an Illuminating Engineering 
Laboratory situated outside the Works proper, where the 
spectacular floodlighting of the Panama-Pacific Exposition 
and that of Niagara Falls were planned. 

The Works management welcomes visitors who are inter- 
ested in scientific and industrial development. The service of 
guides is available at stated hours each day and covers the 
points of principal interest described In the foregoing pages. 
Special arrangements are made for the reception of conven- 
tions, technical societies, and student bodies, and every 
effort is made to render these visits informative and pleasant. 



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The General Electric Company has established an edu- 
cational as well as a scientific and an industrial center at 
Schenectady. In the development of a curriculum, the Com- 
pany has been prompted by a sense of moral obligation to give 
its employees suitable help in improving their understanding, 
and also by a prudent concern for the future of the electrical 
industry itself. On the one hand, it seeks to supply those 
elements of knowledge which may be missing in the lives of 
competent employees; on the other, it recognizes the impor- 
tance of sending out young men completely equipped to serve 
the large purposes of the industry in other fields. 

For foreign-born employees who desire to qualify them- 
selves for American citizenship, a free course of instruction 
is conducted by teachers recruited from the G-E organiza- 
tion. The subjects include, so far as is necessary, all those 
taught in elementary schools, with special attention to read- 
ing and writing English. 

For boys and young men who possess mechanical ability 
and who have not gone beyond grade or high school, a four- 
year course of paid educational employment offers a valu- 
able foundation for the trade career in which they respec- 
tively develop the greatest aptitudes. At the same time, they 
attend graded classes in mathematics^ mechanical drawing, 
and such other subjects as will add to their mental and tech- 
nical equipment and will further their advancement either 
with this company or elsewhere. 

Evening vocational courses are available in shop arith- 
metic, English, typewriting, stenography, engineering 
mathematics, machine design, blue print reading, mechanical 
drawing, electrical engineering theory, shop practice, and 
cognate subjects. These courses, offered to employees who 
desire to improve their qualifications for advancement, 
in ay be supplemented by intensive instruction in commercial 
and administrative work, accounting, auditing, and com- 
mercial law, and by special training in technical sales pro- 
motion. 

The Student Engineering Course, open to college t^radu- 
ates in engineering, supplements theoretical instruction 



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with study and practical experience in design, manufacture, 
construction, and research in the shops. Its object is to train 
men for positions as commercial engineers or salesmen of 
electric apparatus, and for service with electrical public 
utility companies. It is often referred to as the ''Test 
Course", and the student engineers are popularly called 
'Test Men". The apparatus is delivered for testing as 
assembled units. The students wire, start, and adjust these 
units, making sure that they meet specifications and are in 
proper condition before they are finally approved andshipped. 
The average time of training is from 12 to 15 months, and 
the number admitted to the course varies from 300 to 500 
annually. Approximately 135 colleges and 25 nations have 
been represented in this student body. 

To a limited number of highly qualified men, General 
Electric offers a three-year advanced course in design engi- 
neering, the last two years of which are spent in the Com- 
pany's engineering offices, where actual day-to-day prob- 
lems are solved. Here the opportunity to develop leadership 
in technical fields is very favorable for men of distinctive 
ability. 

A sales course is conducted for those who desire to enter 
the selling field, and a course in accounting, administration, 
and like subjects is available for graduates of non-technical 
colleges. Those who wish to earn post-graduate degrees in 
engineering may take up the necessary work at Union Col- 
lege, Schenectady, while employed by the Company. 
Several undergraduate scholarships at I'nion College have 
been established by General Electric for )'oung men in its 
employ and for sons of employees. 

It is as important to encourage men and women in the 
practice of thrift as to help them increase their earningpower. 
The General Electric Company ofl^ers to the members of 
its organization advantageous investments and provision 
for a possible time of trouble. It has organized the G.E. 



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Employees Securities Corporation, the funds of which are 
invested in General Electric securities and in those of elec- 
trical public utilities. The bonds of this corporation are sold 
to G-E employees, who may buy them either for cash or by 
weekly or monthly deductions from pay. These bonds return 
six per cent interest, to which General Electric adds two per 
cent so long as the holder remains in its employ. These 
issues, redeemable at any time, have been subscribed to 
an amount of over ^25,000,000 by more than 30,000 
employees. 

Recognizing the value of continuity of service, the Com- 
pany gives supplementary compensation to those who have 
been in its employ for five years and who receive less than 
J4000 a year. This compensation (five per cent of the 
employees' annual pay) amounted in 1926 to more than two 
and a half million dollars. Pensions are awarded to those 
who retire after a certain number of vears' service. 

The Company has developed an efi^ective plan for assist- 
ing employees in the purchase or building of homes. While 
this plan has only lately been put in operation, homes in 
and about Schenectady to the value of more than two million 
dollars have been financed through it. 

There are 19,793 employees at Schenectady, alone, covered 
for over $23,000,000 of group life insurance, the premiums on 
which are paid by the Company. In addition, over 80 per cent 
of the employees have subscribed for group life insurance in 
almost equal amount, which they pay for at low rates. The 
annual claims paid to families of deceased employees at 
Schenectady total over |268,ooo. 

A Mutual Benefit Association, conducted by employees, 
has paid sick and death benefits to employees of the Sche- 
nectady Works of about $850,000 during the fourteen years 
of its existence. All employees are eligible to membership. 

Social and recreational advantages are provided for those 
in the service of the Company. Prominent among these is 
the Edison Club, which furnishes modern club facilities to 
members of the Testing Department and to the younger engi- 
neers. Its equipment includes a club house with reading and 



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billiard rooms, a large hall for lectures, dances, and dinners, 
bowling alleys, and a boat house. A country club also has 
been organized for the benefit of student engineers. Its club 
house and golf links are on the bank of the Mohawk River, 
a few miles from Schenectady. 

The General Electric Woman's Club, organized for the 
promotion of acquaintance and mutual helpfulness among 
women employees of the Company, has its home a short 
distance from the Works. Here athletic classes are conducted 
and social events are held. Lunch is served daily at a small 
charge. A well-appointed summer camp on Lake George has 
been established for the women and girls of the G-E organi- 
zation. Carefully supervised and with every facility for out- 
door enjoyment, it offers an ideal vacation place at a cost 
that barely covers expenses. 

An athletic field, with baseball diamonds, tennis courts, 
and running track, is maintained by the Company for the 
encouragement of individual development and for group 
sports. 

The Schenectady Works of the General Electric Company 
wa^s established in 1886, when the Edison Machine Works 
(afterwards part of the Edison General Electric Company) 
acquired two buildings (now known as 10 and 12) on the 
site of the present plant and began operations with 
about 300 employees. In 1892, the Edison General Electric 
Company and the Thomson-Houston Electric Company, of 
Lynn, Mass., were merged under the name, General Electric 
Company. In addition to the plants at Schenectady and 
West Lynn, there are now large factories atPittsfield, Mass.; 
Erie, Pa.; Ft. Wayne, Ind.; Bridgeport, Conn.; Philadelphia, 
Pa.; Baltimore, Md.; Harrison, N. J.; and Cleveland, Ohio; 
besides smaller factories in other cities. In all there are 47 
plants, having an aggregate floor space of 26,000,000 square 
feet and employing more than 75,000 men and women. 
Each of these plants specializes in particular lines of prod- 
ucts, while some of them, as in the case of lamp factories, 
are restricted to one. 



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MACHINING THE STATOR FRAME OF A 65,000-KILOWA'l T 

WATERWHEEL-DRIVEN GENERATOR 

This is the largest generator of its kind ever built. 




AX ELECTRIC FURNACE USED FOR MELTING 

BRASS, BUILDING IO5 

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A CON I RA5 I IN ARMATURES 



The small armature is of the kind built for a i /30-h.p. motor, 
and weighs lesb than a pound; the large one, built in Building i <;, 
weighs 96,000 lbs. and is for a 45co-h.p. steel mill motor. 



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MASS PRODUCTION OF MOTORS, BUILDING 4O 

Practically the whole of this large, five-story building is devoted to 
the different processes necessary to build induction 

motors in large quantities. 



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A HUGE ROIOR, BLILDiXG 6o 

Here is shown the turbine rotor assembly of a 6o,ooo-kw. 

steam turbine-eenerator. 



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A I 2,000- POUND TRIP HAMMER, BUILDING 94 

'I his shop is entirely devoted to forging-hammers, ranging from 

250-pound electric motor-driven, drop-board 
hammers to the giant in the picture. 



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ONE OF THE PORCELAIN-FIRING RILNS, BUILUINC 68 

The porcelain products made in this Iniildine ranee in size from the 

giant insuhitors 6 to 8 feet high shown in this picture to 

tiny switch parts measured in fractions of an inch. 



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A 1 0,000-POUND HVOKAULIC PRESS FOR SHF.AIHING 

CABLES WITH LEAD, BL ILUIXC 85 




ONE OF THE CA B LE- \V KA PPI \(; NLACHIXES, 

BUlI,l>liVG 85 



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BLOWING GLASS, BUILD I KG J 7 

Many different kinds oi glassware, such as x-ray tubes, mercury arc 
rectifier tubes, and all varieties of tubes for experimental 

work, are blown in this shop. 



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THE TOWFRS OF \VC\ 



The broadcasting t(jwers of WGY are on the roof of" Building 40. 
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